For nearly 30 years, Paul Stubblebine has been working in the SanFrancisco Bay Area mastering records for a varied clientele thatincludes Richard Strauss, Roy Rogers, Jerry Gracia, Herbie Hancock, SlyStone and Tony Bennett. For the past three years, his mastering studiohas been using Z-Systems technology.
“I first became familiar with Z-Systems through their switchers androuters when I was mixing a project at Skywalker Sound,” Stubblebinesaid. “Although I’m purchasing some of this equipment now, the firstpieces we brought into our facility were the z Q6 6-Channel MasteringEqualizer and the z CL6 6-Channel Dynamics Compressor/Limiter.”Stubblebine said that he has been using these two pieces of gear almostexclusively on surround projects: “If I’m working in surround sound ona music recording, the producers might have taken one instrument–thekick drum, let’s say–and put it in all four corners but not the centerspeaker. In that case, when it comes to the mastering process I’dprobably want to apply compression to every speaker but the center.Z-Systems has designed their equipment to let me dial-in those choicesvery quickly. Let’s say we’re doing a film mix the next day. In thatcase, the rears will probably be receiving ambience, which is totallydifferent material than is being sent to any of the other speakers. SoI won’t want either of these speakers linked to anything else.”
Stubblebine decided to incorporate a Z-Systems 64.64.r DigitalDetangler Pro with Router Remote Control into his facility because hedoes not use a mixing board. “We’ve got three workstations here: SonicSolutions, SADiE and Sonoma,” said Stubblebine. “Since the dawn of theworkstation, I’ve made them the center of the signal flow. I surroundthese workstations with outboard gear, and over the years, the numberof pieces has grown significantly. The Z-Systems 64.64.r Detangler is adelightful, fabulous piece of gear with 64 input/output ports servingas a patchbay router/format converter and distribution amplifier. Thisrouter performs at least two essential tasks for us. For one thing, itcleans up the clocking in the room, which makes the whole system soundbetter. It also gives me complete flexibility with regard to routing,memorizing settings that we use repeatedly and reconfiguring the studioon command. Software that runs on either a PC or Mac gives the user avisual confirmation of the routing scheme. With all of the equipmentthat a facility like ours uses, it’s easy to get confused. ButZ-Systems has tackled routing with the same intelligence that theybrought to equalization and compression.”
John Greenham, a staff engineer at Paul Stubblebine Mastering andDVD, recently used all of the studio’s Z-Systems equipment on a releaseby the popular Latin band, Quetzal. Michael Romanowski serves asanother key staff engineer. Contact the studio at [email protected].Visit Z-Systems online at www.z-sys.com.